Saturday, 3 March 2012

On Being Stuck

It's been an interesting week. We had a visit from a relative who is sadly suffering with Alzheimers. She was, however,  in good spirits and patently enjoyed being with us and it has to be said it was good to see her. She appears to be responding well to the medication and she does seem to have improved since we last saw her. We had friends over for dinner which was pleasant. We received a parking fine for overstaying the stipulated time in a well known supermarket car park. Jim was not best pleased about that but as he'd been driving, there was minimal fuss and we paid up online. I had a business meeting which was useful and a friend came to lunch. I was deprived of my broadband service for three days. I had a brief chat with our son on the phone and have just visited our very busy daughter for an hour. Much of it was good and some of it downright frustrating.

With the loss of broadband I was limited in my normal interactions on Facebook and Twitter. I had been thinking of cutting down the time I spend online because of its addictive nature. I really enjoy the interactions I have but it really sucks up the time, but to be deprived of the choice was irritating. I have as you know been suffering from some kind of inertia. It has been mooted that I was depressed but I have no diagnosis. I have spoken to friends about about my feelings who are sympathetic.  But, as is normal with most friends they want to help and offer solutions. I am not being ungrateful or a know it all but I'm quite good at solutions. I rarely want solutions when I share what I'm feeling. I want someone to listen and to be fair they did that too.

Anyway, I have been grizzling away for weeks and Jim has been goodness itself. He has been very patient. He has put up with my irascibility. He hasn't complained. He hasn't suggested I get off my backside and do housework. He's just kept repeating this is a normal part of coming to terms with retirement you will be ok eventually. I have kept repeating this to myself. I'm now beginning to feel I am going to be ok. I don't think it's due to the repetition though I know that can help. 

I was lunching with my friend on Friday, she is a little younger than me and she's a therapist. I am sharing this because therapists sometimes respond differently. We are after all trained to empathise but not offer solutions. I was trying to explain to her what I was feeling and finding it really difficult. This is something of a new experience for me. I'm usually insightful about what's happening for me and I am articulate. But this time I seemed to be blocked. I didn't know. Now in therapy speak, not knowing is a defence mechanism. If you don't know you can't deal with it and, therefore, cannot change. So the question was - what was I defending against? Certainly not her. I have known her for years and I trust her.  

It was when I was speaking about not wanting to do chores that it dawned on me what the chores represent. They represent a me before I found me. I do hope this makes sense. I'll explain more fully. Years ago when my children were small and before I returned to paid employment. I did housework. Boy did I do housework. I cleaned and I scrubbed and the cupboards were sorted out every week. I kept busy imposing order and staving off chaos. In some sense this wasn't unpleasant because I had it at the back of my mind that things would change and there was something around the corner. 

I have realised that what I felt was that by throwing myself into chores I was going back. But this time without the hope that things would open up. So the refusal to do chores was a refusal to go back. I have been digging my heels in. I have been stuck. Now this perhaps doesn't make sense from a pragmatic point of view but if you look at it as an unconscious process it makes perfect sense. By the way I have just downloaded an education app for my iPad and I am looking at an OU course on 'What Is Religion' and in celebration I cleaned the kitchen! 


  1. Sometimes, I so wish we could meet for coffee! So much to say. So much I can relate to (as well as much I can't relate to). Like you, I think I know myself too well to benefit from advice, and unlike you, I tend to lack humility.

    Anyway, just to pick up on the chores aspect. When I worked, I was under so much pressure there that I had to keep on top of domestic issues (insofar as I was able to, being hopeless!), or I would've disintegrated.

    Now that I have all the time in the world, I can't find time or inclination to do any cleaning. I have all the time in the world, but still can't find time to do lots of things I used to do or want to do. I do thank God for the faith I have, and church stuff gets me out and about, but even some of my duties to God have fallen victim to my love for my laptop/iPad and electronic communications.

    But on the other hand, I would be seriously depressed without them I suspect. Catch 22.

    That's just a fraction of what I am thinking. I overthink, as you have observed, much to my amusement in that particular context.

  2. Oh Babs, I am sorry you have been down. I say, I can't wait for retirement but I think the truth is somewhere in the middle of your feelings. In time I know you will come to terms with this new you. This is also part of your journey. If need be, housework can wait.

  3. If only we all had your insight would save the NHS a fortune! Being able to work out what was happening in your subconscious. Amazing!

  4. lol thanks for the ironic salute. Seriously we can all work out our own stuff with practice. It's about asking 'what makes me feel like this'. Keep visiting the blog and keep commenting.

  5. thanks Suzie I think I am working it out. I need something to be passionate about. Perhaps an OU course may be just the ticket. I'll see. Again thank you for connecting and caring.

  6. coffee would be nice - who knows maybe one day? It's not that I object to advice. I'm happy to be the recipient if I ask for it. But very often I just want to share my thoughts to help me work things out. Thankfully I have people who will do that with me. Thanks for taking the time to share some of your experience.